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Spending in the fiscal year 2015 budget grows by $156 million. With the state already spending more than it takes in, why did lawmakers increase spending?
State estimators just completed a new forecast of the cost of human service caseloads. Their conclusion: To pay for these services, the fiscal year 2015 State General Fund budget must grow almost $80 million from the amount approved for this year.
Accurately estimating the effect of a significant change in tax policy is not easy. FY 2014 is the first full fiscal year to be affected by the tax changes. The true test of the estimate’s accuracy comes next spring.
Kansas enacted major tax policy changes over the last two years. The changes differ so much from the scope of what most other states are doing that they have been dubbed a “fiscal experiment.”
In the wake of a federal government shutdown and a near federal default on debt payments, let’s take a look at how much debt the federal government holds and how that is likely to change in the future.
The Affordable Care Act — also known as the ACA or Obamacare — became law more than three years ago, but the parts of the health reform law that will cost the federal government the most money do not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014.
Estimators predicted that this fiscal year's State General Fund receipts would drop $455 million below FY 2013 collections. So far that estimate appears to be about on target, or maybe even not quite low enough. However, the real test of the estimate’s accuracy comes next winter.
Judging from the budget preparation instructions given to state agencies, a one-year budget is in the offing. But based on what happened last year, a two-year budget recommendation still could emerge.
The state pays over 90 percent of the cost to cover state employees and heavily subsidizes the cost of family coverage. In fiscal year 2014, it will pay a total of $323.5 million into the plan.
The federal government borrows money to make up the difference between income and spending. Kansas cannot do that — state policymakers must make revenues and expenditure match.